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An Interview with Todd Kliman, Author of The Wild Vine

In late October, we managed to get Todd Kliman on the phone. Kliman is the Food and Wine Editor of The Washingtonian magazine, and the winner of a James Beard Award.

He is a busy man, and we were lucky to land him to discuss his new book, The Wild Vine: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine (New York: Clarkson-Potter, 2010).

This is not a mere wine book, one that blah-blahs ad nauseum about a grape and then launches into a series of winery reviews and tasting notes.

No, it is a narrative, and a multilayered one at that. Kliman’s book mixes history and travelogue.  It features a trans-sexual (really!) and a little-remembered grape (the Norton) that once was drunk widely in America.  Its motifs include David vs. Goliath, insiders vs. outsiders, the old world versus the new, treasures lost and found, and the quest for authenticity.

We quite enjoyed it; it is a fun read, and we encourage anyone who enjoys a good yarn to get a copy.

Please click here to listen to Todd Kliman discuss The Wild Vine and the Norton grape.  (Length 64 minutes.)

Readers who wish to learn more about Kliman should surf to

Those who wish to hear from Jenny McCloud, the proprietor of Chrysalis, a Norton-producing Virginia vineyard, should watch this video.

Finally, anyone who wants to know more about Missouri’s Norton wines can get started by surfing to


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